First, basic point, travel at out of peak season. When..? Typically, out of major global festivities. Christmas, summer season, bank holidays, easter holidays - Avoid it. Anyway, majority hates to travel during Christmas which is within cold winter and during searing hot summer (Considering Europe and Western destination..) Spring is the best time. Nice weather and nice view.. Good for pictures as well..
Plan it ahead, way ahead, 6 months and above, let your boss know, let the whole world notice, block the date, apply on leave in advance and rest assured, you are in peace... :) Many benefits if you plan it ahead... way way ahead.. Obviously, you have more time to do research, make bookings and off course all at cheaper price..
Second, transportation.. Flight ticket, airport transfer and moving around to the planned places of interest will required almost half of the budget.. Let us look at how to get a cheap flight ticket.
The cheapest definitely by budget carrier. Hey, now you can travel to almost major Asian cities, ocenia (Australia) and London by Air Asia. I love Tony Fernandes very very much...!! Well, with only RM499 (about RM500++ nett including taxes) one way, you can travel to the UK. And what's more exciting??? Indeed...!! You have an opportunity to tour Europe at much much cheaper price with multiples cheap connections to Europe's budget carriers. To name a few likes UK household cheap airline - Ryan Air, Easy Jet, BMI and many more. Try and play in Ryan Air website from Stansted to any major Europe cities in any off peak season and your jaw might be dropped.. I did traveled from Liverpool John Lennon airport to Milan Bergamo airport (return flight) for just GBP19.99 nett only.. Don't believe it..??? Believe it...!!! In fact, flying to Dublin is free.. Folks.. it's FREE!! It is just a matter of traveling at the right time.. :)
Owh.. If you still want to travel in style.. via premium airline, you can, definitely can.., but still can save - browse to global airline ticketing website. Do not go by individual airline website.. Website like travelocity.com, airnet.co.uk, airgorillas ticketing are very useful. Try and error any desirable travel period to get return air ticket list, sort by cheapest to the most expensive. It will list down hundreds if not thousand of return flight with total nett cost.. I did my best deal when I traveled to the UK last year which cost me about RM2800 nett for return ticket to Manchester via Amsterdam. And it was a premium full service airline. To my liking, I love travelocity as it is more efficient and reliable. In fact there is a 24 hours cooling of period which we can change the itinerary. You cant do this via most individual airline website especially if you bought a super savvy deal or non flexi ticket which does not permit you to change the itinerary easily unless it is a full flex ticket.
Now you smile all the way as you get the cheapest flight ticket on planet. Yet.. you still have to think about airport transfer.. Definitely, with prudent planning will not cost you a bomb. Book ahead.. If you are traveling to advanced cities likes Hong Kong, European cities, Australian cities or any part of Japan, book online ahead.. Example, if you tour the Europe, get a bus/ train transfer.. Make sure your hotel will be close proximit to the central station where you will be disembarked. It's cheaper.. For instance, National Bus across UK offered a fare as low as GBP1 from Stansted airport to major UK cities likes Manchester and Birmingham if you book couples of month ahead. Avoid taking taxi as it is very expensive.
And lastly, getting around at the destination. Normally as backpackers, they are many ways. Just figure out which one is cheaper. I always consider 3 option ; first option, getting a daily or weekly unlimited pass for city bus services. But you have to know and plan properly places of interest you wish to visit. Loads of job prior to the trip, but hey, the traveling date will be 6 months ahead, and you have a luxury to browse around through internet first. At the flip side, this is the cheapest option. Second, by booking a hop on, hop off tour package. Not that expensive. A full daily tour around Milan city will cost you about 28 euro only, and you cover almost every interesting places. I will let you know in detail in part 2. Third option, by renting a car. This could be an interesting option. You have freedom, but advisable, you should rent a GPS and do some research of dos and don'ts while driving in the destination cities. Renting a small size car in the UK or Europe will only cost you about GBP/Euro15 per day excluding petrol expenses. Additional GBP/Euro 10 for GPS per day, and you are good to go. Owh, get the list of address and postcode of places of interest with you as well.. :) Normally I choose second or third option.
Nahh.., let's do some calculation for this... Example, tour destination (Liverpool, Manchester, Wales and Milan);
1. Return flight ticket (Singapore-Manchester-Singapore) Transit at Paris = RM2800 nett (by Air France
2. Train (Manchester Airport-Liverpool-Manchester Airport) - GBP13, RM71.50
3. Hop on/ off Tour at Liverpool (1 day) - GBP7, RM40
Driving to South Wales (1 day) and Manchester-Stoke on Trent(1 day)
4. Rental of Chevrolet Matiz (1000 cc), 2 days including GPS - GBP50, RM275
5. Petrol - GBP40, RM220
Milan Italy Tour (3 days, 2 night)
6. Return flight (Liverpool-Milan-Liverpool) by Ryan Air - GBP19.99, RM110
7. Return transfer by bus (Liverpool city-Liverpool airport-Liverpool city) - GBP5, RM27.5
8. Return transfer by bus (Airport-Milan-Airport) - Euro10, RM48
9. Tour at Milan hop on/off (1 day) - Euro28, RM134.40
10. Bergamo Italy hop on/ off (half day) - Euro14, RM67.20
Total Transportation cost - RM3793.60
(For 1 week travelling, places - Liverpool, Manchester, Stoke on Trent (England), South Wales (Wales), Milan, Bergamo (Italy)
Off course, if you are travelling via Air Asia to Stansted, the cost will be way cheaper, perhaps as low as typical RM1400 nett for return ticket inclusive of return transfer. Next, in part 2, I will share more on how to save in accomodations... :)